Youth slashed for Facebook insults

A 17-year-old sustained slash wounds to his face and hands, requiring 100 stitches, after being viciously assaulted at his home by two men armed with a carpet knife and blades.

During the daytime assault sparked by Facebook taunts, Ennis brothers Brian Joyce, aged 23, formerly of St Enda’s Beechpark, and John Joyce, aged 21, also assaulted Danny Harty’s pregnant sister, Mary, at the Harty home, with one of the men repeatedly kneeing Ms Harty in the stomach.

Garda Robert Grant told Ennis Circuit Court that when he came across Mr Harty at the emergency department of Ennis General Hospital on October 14, 2015, his face and hands were completely covered in bandages.

Garda Grant said Mr Harty, now aged 19, was unable to sign his Garda statement due to injuries to his hands and signed it only with an ‘X’.

Two days after Brian Joyce was remanded in custody at Limerick Prison for the attack, he was assaulted in what his counsel, Anthony Sammon, believes was a revenge attack.

Garda Grant disagreed, stating that the assault on Joyce was unconnected to the Harty assault.

Joyce told the court he received ‘a rap’ on the back of his head as he was washing his plate in prison and said he has suffered brain damage and the loss of hearing in one ear as a result.

The co-accused in the Harty assault case, John Joyce, was murdered in England in August.

In her victim impact statement, Mary Harty said: “One of the men kneed me into the stomach several times while I was screaming in fear for the life of my unborn child, but they didn’t seem to care.

“This is something I will never get over and every time I look at my baby I am still lucky to have her as they could’ve taken her away from me.”

In the attack, Mr Harty suffered a slash wound from the top of his forehead to the tip of his nose and across the left cheek to the top of his lip. He also received a number of stab wounds to his hands.

Brian Joyce pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm of Daniel Harty and the assault of Mary Harty.

Counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly, said the assault was at the higher end of the spectrum as it involved extreme violence, premeditation, and serious injury, while it was an unprovoked attack on a young person in a family home that rendered the victim helpless.

In the witness box, Joyce said he wanted to apologise to Mr Harty and his family.

Asked what the motivation around the assault was, Joyce said he was in “the madhouse” when he got a call from his brother, John, about what Mr Harty was saying about John on Facebook.

Brian Joyce said he checked himself out of the psychiatric unit and phoned the Hartys, demanding the Facebook messages be taken down.

Joyce, who has 17 previous convictions, said that when this was not done, he went to the Harty home and Mr Harty “said things I didn’t want to hear him say”.

He said: “I am sad with what I have done and I want to apologise. I know I did something very wrong.”

Mr Sammon said his client has already served a year in prison for the assault.

Judge Keys further remanded Joyce in custody for sentencing later this month.


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